Posted: Friday 19th July 2019
For some, this has been a frustrating week of traffic queues and hold-ups in and around Bristol due to Extinction Rebellion’s five day protest. I support and strongly believe that peaceful protests have a place in our society but the challenge for the police is to balance the rights of the protestors with the rights of the community and citizens of Bristol. I know the Constabulary have worked closely with partners, including the City Council, to minimise disruption throughout the week for those who live, work and visit the city.
Big policing operations such as this do stretch the resources of the Constabulary during an already busy time. The police have worked really hard this summer and in the last three weeks alone they have supported some wonderful events including Glastonbury, St Paul’s Carnival, Pride and will be at this weekend’s Bristol Harbourside Festival. All of these events need policing and we need to remember that there is no such thing as extra police. For the Extinction Rebellion protest, the police have cancelled rest days for officers, asked officers to work overtime and increased shift lengths, all of which costs approximately £300k. This is on top of the hundreds of 999 and 101 calls that the police still have to respond to in order to keep our communities safe. I know officers will always go above and beyond when such events occur and I want to say thank you to all those individuals and teams who have been involved for your hard work.
As I’ve mentioned, summer is always a busy time for the Constabulary, partly due to the number of great events that take place in our communities. Last weekend we celebrated Bristol Pride and officers proudly donned rainbow colours and marched alongside revellers in the annual parade. It’s important to remember that we should celebrate our differences and Pride also allows Avon and Somerset Police to share the important message that hate crimes will not be tolerated. Being targeted because of your age, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other reason is unacceptable.
Finally, applications opened this week for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and will close on Sunday 28 July .PCSOs make a real difference to our communities by working to tackle the crimes and anti-social behaviour issues that matter most to local people. They help promote community safety and reduce the fear of crime with their proactive and visible presence.
Neighbourhood policing is at the heart of our communities and is essential to ensuring Avon and Somerset is safe and feels safe. Local people continually tell me how much their local policing teams, which include PCSOs, mean to them. It’s important that PCSOs reflect the communities they serve and applications are being encouraged from people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Most importantly, if you’re committed to helping and supporting your local community, becoming a PCSO could be the role for you, so don’t hesitate to apply on the police’s website.